Released in 1978 by Parker Brothers, the Little House on the Prairie board game hurried players to be the first to move all family members away from danger to the safety of the Little House.
The game was illustrated with the likenesses of the Ingalls family familiar to audiences of the Little House on the Prairie television series (1974-1983). Based on the novels (1932-1943, 1971) written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the television series followed the lives of a family of five — Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary, and Carrie — as they navigated life on their Plum Creek homestead.
The activity cards — including character cards and numbered cards — were shuffled together. Each player was dealt three cards face-down. The remaining cards were placed face-down in a pile beside the game. The top card of the activity pile was turned face-up.
The player with the highest spin started the game. Each player had three character pawns of the same colour and placed these at the starting position on the game board. They then took turns spinning and moving their trio of pawns along the path outlined on the board. Character cards in the activity pile prompted players to spin and move the corresponding pawn along the board. If a numbered card was turned up, the player would use the spinner to determine which character to play.
As a player’s turn ended, they would choose one of their three activity cards to place face-up on the top of the activity pile for the next opponent to play. The player would also draw a replacement card and put it face-down in front of them.
There were plenty of pitfalls along the way. Opponents could play character cards marked “Only” that limited a player’s options. There were also threats to be had on the journey. Spaces illustrated with a prairie fire, a wolf pack, and an Indian war party penalized players by regressing a pawn down the board. There were perks to be had as well. Spaces marked Strong Horses and Good Harvest awarded extra spins.
The first player to move all three of their character pawns into the Little House won the game.
IN THE BOX
A complete game included a game board, spinner illustrated with characters and numbers, 12 character pawns (four each of Laura and Mary, Pa and the family dog, Ma and Carrie in sets of yellow, red, orange, and green), nine character cards, and 11 numbered cards. Instructions were printed on a cardboard platform inside the box.
There are usually a few Little House on the Prairie games to be found through online marketplaces. Collectors eschewing an online purchase in preference of the in-person shopping experience may have to exercise patience in the hunt for this particular game.